Iran: The “Value” of Newspapers

With all the noise (Twitter, Facebook, CNN, et al) coming out of Iran amid the protests over the presidential elections, newspapers are working hard to provide a sense of what it all means by filtering, curating and adding perspective and insight.

Of course, providing this kind of reporting takes trained talent and, if you’re the New York Times, a bureau in Tehran. There’s clearly value in giving people the facts in a well-written and insightful package to stand out from all the coverage provided by social media. Jeff Jarvis has a blog post looking at how newspapers are adding value in the “new news ecosystem”.

What Jarvis doesn’t mention is the cost involved for newspapers to provide this kind of coverage. It’s expensive to have bureaus around the world, and having talented reporters who can quickly and intelligently provide news with perspective can be expensive as well.

So, the question is how can newspapers provide the kind of coverage coming out of Iran that fits into the new news financial model? With advertising revenue declining and newsrooms getting smaller, how do newspapers do what they need to do. As Jarvis suggests, some of it has to do with building a network of sources and citizen journalists that can be accessed to gain the kind of information for the new news ecosystem – something that good reporters develop over time.

This would let a small team of good reporters to produce the kind of stories that would not be available elsewhere – giving newspapers the ability to stand and deliver at a cost that makes sense.

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  • David George-Cosh

    But can the team Jarvis suggest produce the same quality work that the NY Times' Roger Cohen just produced (… or the BBC, whose correspondents I've been glued to since these events began?

    • markevans

      That's a good question. What Cohen did was produce a well-written personal account of the "news", offering perspective and curation. Could someone have written the same thing? Perhaps but what Cohen has going for his is credibility